October 2010

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OCTOBER 2010

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50-Mile Thru-Hikes

No six-month sabbatical in the works for a long trail? Not a problem. Here are 10 point-to-point treks with the payoffs of a thru-hike–new scenery and campsites every day, enough miles to get into a rhythm–but all sized just right for your real-world vacation: a week. From Pennsylvania to California, these are the top routes for a thru-hike you can do this year. By Jim Gorman

Trail Etiquette

Go ahead and get dirty. But please, don't act like a Neanderthal just because you're 14 miles from indoor plumbing. Take our quiz to see if you're a civilized hiker–or need to pay a visit to backcountry finishing school.

Survive!

A practical guide to wilderness catastrophes and the skills you need to:

[ ] Navigate without a compass

[ ] Make a splint from sticks

[ ] Improvise a pair of crampons

[ ] Start a fire with whiskey

[ ] Stay warm without shelter

...and more

Killer Hike

Go back far enough, and we're all descended from hunters, one way or another. Yet the rift between hikers and hunters grows bigger every year. But are the unarmed missing out on an important part of the wilderness experience? Can shooting a deer actually make you a better backpacker? Rifle in hand, Bruce Barcott looks for an answer–and a target–in eastern Washington.

My F*&^ing Family

We like to think that a camping trip can bring anyone together–even three siblings harboring five decades' worth of betrayals, resentments, and maybe one case of semi-accidental poisoning. Will a backpacking trip in the Rockies bring this family together–or tear them apart? By Steve Friedman

DESTINATIONS

NEW TRIPS NEAR YOU!

Our expanded Local Hikes section has 28 GPS-enabled trails, from San Francisco to Atlanta, mapped by our field scouts. Plus: Free Print & Go planners for select trips.

TOP 3: Rainy Season Hikes

Get surprising payoffs on hikes in California, Utah, and Pennsylvania that save their best for soggy weather.

NATURAL WONDERS

Marvel at the country's deepest gorge, watch Colorado's bighorn sheep clash, and see long-lived longleaf pines.

RIP & GO WEEKEND ADVENTURES

Less planning, more hiking. Tear out our weekend guides to Kings Canyon, the inner Grand Canyon, and the Shenandoahs.

THE PEAK: Mt. Marcy

Take the scenic–and sporting–route to New York's highest summit.

SKILLS

THE MANUAL: Predict Weather

Can crickets tell you the temperature and a cup of coffee forecast storms? Here's how to become a backcountry meteorologist.

Health: Medicine Man

Feeling forgetful? Learn whether climbing those Fourteeners caused brain damage.

DIRTBAG/GOURMET RECIPES: Fondue

Add rich cheese and gourmet flair to your backcountry repertoire.

GEAR SCHOOL: Snowshoes

Get expert tips on picking the right size, shape, and style for optimal performance–and get out more this winter.

GEAR

FIELD NOTES

All-purpose boots, a three-for-one winter jacket, a hard-duty pack for peakbagging and bushwhacking, a versatile three-person tent, and high-def sunglasses.

Ultimate Backcountry Beds

The perfect sleep systems for every season.